The Indian uprising of 1857 has, like other upsurges of its kind, produced many leaders of great substance and stature. Some of these leaders are, for obvious reasons, well known and well written about, whereas others, though by no means less important, remain forgotten. I have tried to rescue one such leader-Rao Tula Ram of Rewari-from anonymity.
Tula Ram's story is exciting. A petty istamarardar of limited means and resources, he rose like a meteor in flash of a moment in 1857 on the Indian scene, identified himself with the aspirations of his people, and strove to serve the cause of the freedom of his country in his area so well that even the central leadership at Delhi took note of him. Here is a man, wrote General Bakht Khan, the Lord Governor General at Delhi, to Emperor Bahadur Shah, on 30-31 July 1857, we need in these trying times. If we miss him, he added, "the consequences would not be pleasant." The Emperor 'blessed' him and gave him 477 villages around Rewari, district Gurgaon (Haryana) in perpetuity the very next day (NAI, Mutiny Papers, Bundle 34).
Tula Ram managed his newly acquired kingdom well, and extended all help-with men, money and material-to the rebel forces in Delhi. He influenced several chiefs in his area and made them tread the path that he had chosen. He opposed the British and kept the flag of freedom flying in his area even after the fall of Delhi.
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